Multifactorial diversity sustains microbial community stability
SourceThe Isme Journal, 7, 11, (2013), pp. 2126-2136
Article / Letter to editor
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The Isme Journal
SubjectBioinformatics; NCMLS 4: Energy and redox metabolism
Maintenance of a high degree of biodiversity in homogeneous environments is poorly understood. A complex cheese starter culture with a long history of use was characterized as a model system to study simple microbial communities. Eight distinct genetic lineages were identified, encompassing two species: Lactococcus lactis and Leuconostoc mesenteroides. The genetic lineages were found to be collections of strains with variable plasmid content and phage sensitivities. Kill-the-winner hypothesis explaining the suppression of the fittest strains by density-dependent phage predation was operational at the strain level. This prevents the eradication of entire genetic lineages from the community during propagation regimes (back-slopping), stabilizing the genetic heterogeneity in the starter culture against environmental uncertainty.
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